I think Joe Montana is the standard. The NFC was stacked in the 1980s and he got through it with four championships. He had to deal with Landry in the early '80s, then Gibbs in his prime, Ditka in his prime, and likewise Parcells. Brutal rugged yet smart opponents. Montana had the ideal combo of smarts, greed, mobility, patience and a catchable ball.
With Montana there was always an adaptability, a sense he didn't mind running it often when it was available, or throw midrange when it was available, or deep when that was the best choice. I hated the Marino years because there was no threat of that. He did what he wanted. I've detailed the stats countless times, how we all but stopped running the ball beginning with the Chargers game in 1984. Disgraceful and masochistic. I had started delving into applied stats in March 1984 with startling clarity, so when we were violating one longstanding principal after another it wasn't difficult to predict it would equate to zero titles. In particular, I have to laugh every time that 1994 playoff game at San Diego is mentioned in agony. We led the entire game, often by wide margin, yet were out rushed 40 attempts to 8. Only Dan Marino could think that running the ball 8 times in a road playoff game was the ideal strategy. I was charting the game and throwing the notepad against the wall as the numbers mounted, yet the announcers were oblivious. We earned our defeat.
There's no question I prefer Griese to Marino. With Griese he was always one step ahead, and that was the beauty of that Dolphins era in general. When it was a vital 3rd and 4 I'd be chuckling in the Orange Bowl stands, knowing darn well Griese was saving a head bob to create a needed first down. If there was a vulnerability on the left side of the defensive line, Griese would send the backs there play after play. Wonderfully ruthless. Even when the initial play call was elsewhere, he'd check out of it and continue to abuse. You could see the little grin toward the sideline. It worked again. Then once the defense adjusted he'd already anticipated it and called a clever pass play to counter.
I know all about Marino's fantastic release and downfield darts. I just wasn't impressed. I mention golf frequently. Lots of guys awe you in ball striking ability but have no idea how to get around the course. The awesome physical ability lends itself to shortcuts everywhere else. They win the Shell Open, not the Masters.
Arnsparger >>>>>>>>>>>> Studley or Olivadotti or whoever. There is no doubt in my mind that if Arnsparger had remained the DC, the Fins would have won SBs during the Marino era.
Points against by year:
1976 - 264
1977 - 197
1978 - 254
1979 - 257
1980 - 305
1981 - 275
1982 (strike season)
1983 - 250 (Arnsparger's last season as DC)
1984 - 298 (SB)
1985 - 320 (made it to conf champ.)
1986 - 405
1987 - (another strike)
1988 - 380
1989 - 379
1990 - 242 (first playoff appearance since 1985)
1991 - 349 (no playoffs again)
1992 - 281 (made it to conf champ.)
1993 - 351
1994 - 327 (playoffs)
1995 - 332 (playoffs)
Avg points against with Arnsparger - 257, without - 333. During the height of Marino's greatness the defense was usually terrible. During Marino's career, every year that the defense allowed less than 349 points, they went to the playoffs. After his rookie year, they went to the conf champ or SB 3 out of 4 years that they allowed less than 320 points. The only year that didn't happen was 1990 and they scored 34 points in a loss the the Bills (the defense allowed 44).
I know they didn't run the ball as much as they should have, but that was due to the lack of talent at the RB position as much as anything else. In a post a long time ago, I listed every Dolphin RB on the roster from 1983 through 1999. Not a single one of them had any appreciable success before or after being a Miami Dolphin, NONE. Reason? They weren't any good....
Brady's the best ever to me. (solidified if he gets back to the superbowl this year.) It seems like every year the Pats change up the types of weapons they have, the general style of offense, and Brady leads them to the best offense in the league no matter what. Their offense right now is historically good, just behind the ridiculous 2010 unit.
He's won the division, what, 10 out of 11 years or something? 2 mvps, 5 superbowls, 7 afc champ games. That's just nuts, and for a decade+.
Last edited by Twitches Brew; 01-18-2013 at 10:26 PM.
When people used to argue Montana over Marino, I always asked one question and I ask it still today. If Marino was on those 49ers teams and Montana was on the Fins, would we place Marino as the greatest. If Marino played for today's Patriots and Brady played for the Fins of the 80s and 90s, who would have the title then. No doubt in my mind, hands down, Marino would have won multiple Super Bowls with a decent running game, some kind of defense and more so playing with today's rules.
Without even trying, here is a partial accounting of where some of Miami's high draft picks went during Marino's heydey:
Jackie Shipp, Sammy Smith, Hugh Green (multiple picks via trade), Rick Graf, Eric Kumerow, John Bosa, Billy Milner, Eddie Blake, Andrew Greene, Lorenzo Hampton, Yatil Green, Scott Schwedes
Those are 13 first and second round picks. It's so abysmal that it's hard to even fathom. Point: Danny didn't have a chance. He took average talent without him to 10 wins a season.
Montana had Roger Craig, John Taylor, Tom Rathman, studs on defense, and a guy named Jerry Rice.
Marino would stab your heart and show it to you. Complete winner. He pulled out so many crap wins just through his talent that it was staggering. Swap Montana's surrounding cast for Marino's and Montana wouldn't have had a chance.
2) who cares
3) who cares